31-Year-Old Goalie – Free Agent
Pascal Leclaire Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $11.4 million deal with Columbus in July of 2008. Traded to Ottawa in March of 2009.
Following major hip surgery in March, Leclaire announced Tuesday that he's retiring from hockey, NHL.com reports.
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Pascal Leclaire: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Pascal Leclaire.
Leclaire enters the 2011-12 campaign without an employer. A former first-rounder that has battled a few injuries in his career, Leclaire was waived by Ottawa in February of last year after posting a 4-7-1 record with a less-than-impressive 2.83 goals-against average. Lelcaire could be a serviceable backup at this point in his career and could be worth a look should he receive the opportunity to reignite his career when he lands at a club.
Leclaire's 2009-10 season was one he'd like to forget as he was hampered by two freak injuries and never got in any kind of groove. The only bright spot was when he was called on in relief of Brian Elliott in the waning moments of Game 4 of Ottawa's first round playoff series against the Penguins. In the triple-overtime thriller in Game 5 of the series, Leclaire stopped 56 of 59 shots to win the game, 4-3. If he can do that on a consistent basis and avoid the injuries, Leclaire has all the physical tools to be a No. 1 goalie again. Don't be surprised to see him start the year as Ottawa's No. 1. With that said, his history of injuries is troubling and he shouldn't be anything more than a No. 2 on anyone's fantasy squad. Should Leclaire stay healthy for a full season, upwards of 35 wins is not out of the question.
The oft-injured but talent-laden netminder is fully recovered from his ankle injury suffered in last year's preseason with Columbus. If Leclaire can return to the form he showed in 2007-08 when he led the league with nine shutouts, then Ottawa has a good shot of returning to the playoffs after last year's absence. The 26-year-old is entering his prime and should be on your shortlist of dark-horse candidates for your second goaltender.
Leclaire finally began to shake off the injury big that had plagued him early in his career, and reminded people why he was a first round pick back in 2001. He played in a career high 54 games in ’07-’08, winning 24 of them and finishing second in the NHL in shutouts (nine) and seventh in GAA (2.25). The blue line additions made by GM Howson should give Leclaire a little more breathing room, and at 25 he’s still got plenty of potential yet untapped. The Blue Jackets’ offensive issues mean he may not get the win total of other top goaltenders, but otherwise Leclaire seems poised to become one of the league’s elite.
Leclaire was expected to assume the mantle of #1 goalie in Columbus last season, but instead suffered a knee injury that cost him most of '06-'07. In the meantime Fredrik Norrena stepped up and proved capable of carrying a starter's load. Leclaire, if he's fully recovered, probably has a higher ceiling than Norrena but he'll have to show that he's ready in training camp.
The Blue Jackets traded away Marc Denis this offseason and prepared to hand over the #1 goaltending spot to 2001 first round pick Leclaire. He gave signs of being ready last year, posting a 3.23 GAA and .911 save percentage in 33 games. He probably won’t be an elite fantasy goalie unless the defense in front of him improves, but that save percentage landed him just outside the top 10 in the NHL in ’05-’06. 25 wins and solid rate numbers seems about right.
While Columbus is content to let Denis handle the netminding chores while bringing in Martin Prusek to back him up, Leclaire is close to forcing the team to reconsider that arrangement. A groin injury limited him to just 14 AHL games last year, but he posted a stellar 2.36 GAA when he was able to play. If Leclaire does get a chance to show what he can do in the NHL, he could end up posting some surprisingly good stats.